Housing Is Back In Architecture, Thanks To Katrina And CNU

Blair Kamin muses about the aftermath of Katrina planning and the legacy of modernism.

"I wasn't at some do-gooder Harvard symposium when I realized that housing was back on the architectural radar screen--and generating enough heat to prompt catfights. I was at, of all places, the Isle of Capri hotel-casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, the absolute antithesis of tasteful Boston redbrick, its gaudy green and purple walls redolent of the Redneck Riviera. There last October, John Norquist--the former three-term mayor of Milwaukee, and president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism--started waving the bloody shirt."

"Here's my question: Now that architects are taking shots at one another over housing, can we do better than we did in the last century, which gave us sprawl for the middle class and Cabrini-Green for the poorest of the poor? Can we close the great divide between fetishistic formalism and social responsibility? Or are we doomed to a world in which architecture's leading practitioners use their work merely to comment on social tumult rather than actually trying to do something about it?"

Thanks to ArchNewsNow

Full Story: Shortsighted Polemics

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